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Friday, March 1, 2024

Vape law gives hope to over 16m Filipino smokers

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The enactment of the Vape Law that regulates smoke-free alternatives provides hope to more than 16 million Filipino smokers who are exposed to serious health risks, according to lawmakers and proponents of the measure.

“We fought for 16 million smokers who wanted to change. With this law, we regulate the products, we regulate the flavors, we regulate the marketing of the products to the youth. This is purely for those who want to quit,” said former Rep. Wes Gatchalian, one of the main authors of Republic Act No. 11900, or the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act.

RA 11900, which became a law on July 25, 2022, regulates the importation, manufacture, sale, packaging, distribution, use and communication of vaping products such as e-cigarettes and heated tobacco products.

Dr. Lorenzo Mata Jr., a physician and president of advocacy group Quit For Good, said the vape law would help address the world’s leading cause of preventable deaths—the smoking epidemic. “Ten Filipinos die of smoking-related diseases every hour,” he said.

Mata said the vape law would provide comprehensive restrictions on trade of vape products, boost the economy by supporting small and medium enterprises and the government, protect minors and give adult smokers a chance to leave their deadly habit behind.

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“Quit for Good welcomes the enactment of the Vape Regulation Law. This will usher the drastic decline of smoking prevalence in the Philippines with the potential to save the lives of 16 million Filipino smokers. With the vape law, we now expect to see a decline in smoking-related deaths and diseases,” Mata said.

Mata said compared to cigarette smoking, vaporized nicotine products such as e-cigarettes or vapes and HTPS are fundamentally different from and are better alternatives because these innovative products do not produce smoke and generate only aerosol or vapor by heating the e-liquid or tobacco.

“Leading public health regulators around the world have found these novel products as less harmful compared to smoking cigarettes. No less than the top public health authorities from UK, US, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Ukraine and China have found that vape products are significantly less harmful than smoking,” he said.

Philippine E-cigarette Industry Association president Joey Dulay said RA 11900 would regulate the industry for the welfare of consumers. “We support the Vape Law because it provides a comprehensive regulation that will protect consumers and promote responsible trade, ensuring minors and non-smokers are protected,” he said.

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